In Review: Coven #3

This series will cast a spell over you as forces fight over the fate of a young witch.

The covers: This must be a first for a Zenescope book: there aren’t any exclusive convention covers to seek out! A collector could snag all four of this issue’s covers at their local store, rather than tromping around the world to find them. The A cover is by Paolo Pantalena and Ula Mos, and it’s the one I purchased. This features Baba Yaga side by side with Liza. Each character is beautiful on this cover and the coloring excellent. I have to admit to liking Liza more than Baba because she’s posed with her left hand in some excellent perspective. The B is by Mike Krome creating a very strong rendition of the psychopathic leader of the New Crusaders, who has a nice bit of backstory in this issue. Strong work, as always, from Krome, with the character looking nicely menacing, though I admit to wanting to have a cover featuring the witches. Jamie Tyndall and Mos do the C cover which is the image that accompanies this review. This is an image of Avril Williams at full strength using her magical abilities. Does she do so in this issue? You’ll have to purchase it to find out! The final cover is the D by Pasquale Qualano and Ylenia De Napolli. Avril and Baba Yaga stand above Dartanian as he looks closely at something. All three characters look great, with the smug expressions on the two women outstanding. Overall grades: A A, B B+, C A+, and D A

The story: Baba Yaga has been captured trying to rescue Avril from the New Crusaders. She’s lead to a window where she sees the young witch and speaks with her. Looking at a frozen frame of Avril tearing up is Dartanian, the Crusader who’s beginning to have doubts about what his group is doing. He’s confronted by his crazy superior who asks him to kill Avril if they’re unable to kill the coven at Cedar Swamp. He agrees to do so, but his doubts grow. Meanwhile, the Crusaders who survived the witches’ entrance to their installation send their wounded to a hospital. One of the injured has a dramatic turn that changes the direction of one plotline. This issue, plotted by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, and Zach Calig, ultimately written by Calig, has a lot occur. The witches’ plan is revealed, as is Liza’s motivations, Baba Yaga makes a decision, Dartanian chooses a side, and a deal is struck. The pacing of this issue is really impressive for all that happens, which also includes an origin to the unaging member of the Crusaders. There’s plenty of action, both magical and gun related, with some really funny lines that don’t seem out of place (Pages 5, 6, 14, 20 — with that line in the third panel being fantastic!). I stand and applaud the trio responsible for this story. Overall grade: A

The art: Excellent visuals again from Diego Galindo. I really like the first panel of the book because of the angle used: far too often this tilt is avoided because it comes off as too cartoony, but Galindo’s use of it makes the world that the reader is being introduced to is askew, and that couldn’t be a better visual introduction to what’s going to happen in this installment. The image of Avril on the computer screen would melt the heart of anyone, be they Dartanian or the reader. The close-up of this Crusader at the bottom of 2 is an excellent portrait to show off his rugged attractiveness and his disdain for what he’s hearing. Avril and Baba Yaga have their best expressions on Page 19: excellent fear and surprise. And speaking of shock, Page 15 is spectacular for the realistic emotions in the characters and the end result at the bottom of the page. This ain’t for kids, that’s for sure! The action is really good in this issue, with magic looking spectacular every time it’s used (Pages 5, 7, 12, 14, and 21) and in the gunplay (Pages 11, 13, and 15). There’s not a bad image anywhere in this book. Oh, no. I think I’ve fallen for another artist whose works I’m going to have to follow for life. Overall grade: A

The colors: Outstanding contributions from Michael Bartolo and Hedwin Zaldivar. Sadly, the credits don’t say who’s responsible for which pages, so that I could give each specific praise, so I’ll have to lump them together. The opening three pages have some excellent coloring work with glass and a computer screen, as well as very realistic coloring on a close-up of Dartanian. There’s a transformation scene in the third panel on Page 5 that has some sweet coloring on the character’s skin and the energy crackling around her. Magic radiates strength due to the colors, such as to be found in the third panel on Page 7, and the whites and violets used around Baba Yaga’s hands. The best coloring has to be on Page 15 which features a graphic use of red and some stunningly beautiful lighting effects to evoke a forest setting. This is beautiful work. Overall grades: A+

The letters: Charles Pritchett creates strong dialogue, Dartanian narration, yells, sounds, Baba Yaga narration, magical transmissions, and scene settings. Pritchett continues to show why Zenescope has some of the best letterers in the business by giving characters their own unique font when thinking (I can’t even think of another company that does this) and some spectacular sounds. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This series will cast a spell over you as forces fight over the fate of a young witch. An exciting story with beautiful visuals. Recommended. Overall grade: A 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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